Argyll & Bute Attractions

Argyll & Bute includes a choice of local attractions in the region, visitors have a choice of places to discover. The scenic region includes unspoilt countryside and choice of islands to explore with a number of museums, parks, gardens, a number of historic buildings, theatre, concerts and events. Argyll & Bute’s location in west of Scotland offers visitors a wonderful landscape to enjoy and the great outdoors is located close to local towns and villages with a range of things to see and do in the region.

We have outlined a number of interesting attractions and places to visit for visitors to Argyll & Bute and surrounding areas, these include:

Barcaldine Castle is located in Argyll, it is the only ancient castle in the area that offers bed and breakfast accommodation too. The castle is the 16th century home of the Campbells of Barcaldine, it is situated 9 miles north of Oban. The castle is steeped in history and character and provides visitors with stunning views from Loch Creran to Glencoe. Witness the snow-capped mountains in spring or the golden colours of autumn here.

Mount Stuart is a splendid Victorian Gothic house located on the Isle of Bute. It was during the 19th century the 3rd Marquess of Bute and his architect built a new Gothic palace from the ruins of the original Mount Stuart, the house was never actually completed. A restoration programme for Mount Stuart began in the 1980s by the late 6th Marquess, aimed to restore and improve this great house. Mount Stuart’s gardens date back to the 18th century and there are constant further developments going on here.

The house is famous for the architecture with intricate details and lavish designs. The gardens are among the finest visitors will see in the UK and include a rock garden, Victorian kitchen garden and a visitor centre. There is a public visual arts programme at Mount Stuart that aims to promote contemporary visual arts and raise public awareness by bringing international quality exhibitions to Bute and Argyll.

Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park is an example of the Scottish countryside at its finest. Located on the eastern edge of Argyll & Bute, the national park boasts the deep waters of Loch Lomond, the Trossachs and the wild glens and Breadalbane’s high mountains. The park provides visitors with a place of contrasts these include Ben Lomond that guards over Loch Lomond, which is the largest expanse of freshwater in the UK. The Trossachs, wild glens and lochs between Callander and Aberfoyle Breadalbane and the high country of the north are situated here.

The Argyll Forest of the Cowal peninsula with the Arrochar Alps are also located here. There are plenty of things to see and do here for those that like scenery, there is plenty of beautiful scenery and natural environments here to enjoy, for those that like outdoor activities there are opportunities for walking, cycling, sailing and canoeing. The touring and activities can be enjoyed in the national park that provides an awesome backdrop.

Crarae Gardens are located to the south of Inveraray and are managed by the National Trust for Scotland. The gardens contain rare trees and exotic shrubs from all over the world that thrive in the mild climate. The gardens are located in a wonderful Highland glen with a lively stream flowing though the woodland. The surroundings add to the experience of visiting the Crarae Gardens, they are open all year round however the visitor centre is only open during the main spring and summer season. It is best to check on the website for exact details and timings.

There are in excess of four hundred rhododendrons and azaleas making the spring and early summer particularly good times to visit. Autumn is decorated by the variety of deciduous trees and there are sheltered woodland walkways and the opportunity to relax and reflect on the beautiful thought provoking environment. The visitor centre sells crafts and refreshments.

Loch Visions is a one day wildlife and digital photography experience on the banks of Loch Awe that includes professional tuition with local award winning wildlife photographer Philip Price. Visitors get the chance to experience the wildlife in the area amidst the settings of Loch Awe. The one day experience covers the tuition and access to the photographic zones and a Photoshop session in the digital suite. The day experience is suitable for photography enthusiasts of all standards and abilities.

The impressive ruins of Rothesay Castle are located in Rothesay town, dating back to the 13th century, the imposing castle is an impressive sight. Highlights of the castle include the curtain wall that is unusual in Scotland in being circular. The four projecting towers were added after the Norwegian siege back in 1263. The great hall in the gatehouse was restored back in 1900 and now containing informative displays relating to the castles royal owners and about the castle itself. The moat provides a good way to view the stone curtain wall and gives access to seeing the ducks. Visitors can also look out for the 15th century St Michael’s Chapel located in the courtyard regarded as one of the most impressive features that survive in the castle.

Bute Museum is located in Rothesay town centre, visitors can learn more about the human and natural history of the area along with the archaeology discoveries contained in the various displays showcasing the history of Bute. The collections show the history of the island from Mesolithic and Neolithic times up to the end of the 20th century. There are a number of important historic artefacts that outline the various stages through history.

The Natural History Gallery shows visitors to the geology, animals, birds and plants of the island from a range of habitats. The Archaeology & History Gallery includes exhibits from the various eras in history including the Bronze and Iron ages up to modern times. The Museum includes a Lecture room and a Library that includes a collection of books, photographs and archival material including documents relating to Bute.

Scottish Sea Life & Marine Sanctuary is located 10 miles from Oban, in picturesque Loch Creran, visitors can see a range of marine creatures in clear waters with over 30 marine habitats. Visitors can see a number of aquarium displays housing sharks, stingrays, starfish and much more, there is a huge amount of diversity with hundreds of sea creatures featuring in the lochs of the West Highlands. The facility is also a rescue and rehabilitation facility for seals and seal pups. A visit to the sanctuary provides a fascinating insight into the great diversity in marine life in the area along with providing a fun filled and educational day out for the whole family to enjoy.

It is recommended that prior to visiting the Argyll & Bute; visitors do their research and ensure any sights and attractions they plan on visiting are actually open on the days you intend on coming. The transport is also worth checking as maintenance and engineering works can mean a restricted service on public transport and the road network.

Argyll & Bute located in the west of Scotland is assessable from Scotland’s largest city Glasgow, making the area a popular holiday and short breaks destination. The area does not enjoy as high a profile as the Highlands among visitors, however it has plenty to offer visitors with a mix of charming small towns and villages including plenty of picturesque locations, impressive coastlines and a choice of islands to explore each with its own history, charm and character. Argyll & Bute includes a number of historic attractions, museums, historic houses, parks and gardens with attractions to enjoy for the entire family. Argyll & Bute’s attractions ensure visitors can enjoy a short break, weekend away or a longer stay here.

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